Spanish classes 3, 4, and 5 had the opportunity to go to Phipps Botanical Gardens and Conservatory to explore the rain forest of Cuba. It is their new featured exhibit for the next three years. Each and every plant was either a tropical plant found in many different regions or a plant native to Cuba. Most of the cards explaining the history behind the plant was written in Spanish so it was interesting to translate. When everyone stepped out of the snow, it felt as though it was a real Cuban rain forest.
There was a power point presentation as well which taught us a lot about the geography of Cuba and how it affects everything on the island. One of the teachers used to be a professor at Pitt and explained all of the great career opportunities related to plants and animals as well as how their interactions affect the environment. We explored the Cuban exhibit more in depth and had a worksheet to help us play a game of Jeopardy. Spanish 5 took the win as we all learned about Cuba.
For many of us, it was our first time there so everybody enjoyed exploring all the different gardens. We also got to see a little bit of behind the scenes as workers began to transition from their spring to summer show. Out tour guides explained the history behind Phipps and the buildings themselves. It began in 1892 by Chicago bringing gifts of tropical plants in honor of Christopher Columbus’ 400 year anniversary of supposedly coming to the US. All of the buildings within the conservatory are extremely green, meaning they recycle, found ways to make the climate naturally adjustable instead of air conditioning or heat, as well as many other things that are good for the Earth.
It was a very good experience to see the effects of plants in Cuba as well as practicing our Spanish.
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